IL-6 enhances CD4 cell motility by sustaining mitochondrial Ca2+ through the noncanonical STAT3 pathway.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Felipe Valença-PereiraMercedes Rincon


Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is known to regulate the CD4 T cell function by inducing gene expression of a number of cytokines through activation of Stat3 transcription factor. Here, we reveal that IL-6 strengthens the mechanics of CD4 T cells. The presence of IL-6 during activation of mouse and human CD4 T cells enhances their motility (random walk and exploratory spread), resulting in an increase in travel distance and higher velocity. This is an intrinsic effect of IL-6 on CD4 T-cell fitness that involves an increase in mitochondrial Ca2+ Although Stat3 transcriptional activity is dispensable for this process, IL-6 uses mitochondrial Stat3 to enhance mitochondrial Ca2+-mediated motility of CD4 T cells. Thus, through a noncanonical pathway, IL-6 can improve competitive fitness of CD4 T cells by facilitating cell motility. These results could lead to alternative therapeutic strategies for inflammatory diseases in which IL-6 plays a pathogenic role.


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